Needless to say my sleep schedule is all screwed up.  By the time I got to bed last night, it was a little after 11:00 p.m., and even though I was thoroughly exhausted, I lay awake, wound up as tight as a fancy new watch.  Finally, about 1:00 a.m., I gave him and took some melatonin which put me out – for a couple of hours anyway.  It was a fitful night’s sleep.

I got up (to stay) at 8:00 a.m. and headed down to the gym for a work-out, mindful of my last trip here when I ate like crazy, never worked out, yet returned to Vancouver with not the slightest change to my weight – to which my buddy Ivon replied: “Yeah, for every pound of muscle you lost you gained a pound of fat.”  So, today’s regimen: a ten minute sprint, 200 squats, 200 incline push ups, 200 bicycle crunches, 400 dips, and another ten minute sprint to finish.  Hopefully, this trip, I’ll be able to put on a pound of muscle for every pound of fat I’ll no doubt gain.

I showered, shaved, did my computer thing (a big thanks to Carl for the Skype app tip), and headed out, strolling through Ginza and taking note of the interesting landmarks.  No, not ancient statues or temples.  Think more contemporary –

Don't know what he's selling, but I'm buying!
What the hell are YOU lookin' at?! Keep moving.

I finally eventually met up with my friend Moro, who I got to know on my last trip here (following multiples visits to the Pierre Marcolini Cafe where she works), and, with her help, purchased one of those of go-anywhere-you-want subway cards.

Don't put your cellphone on speaker in the subway! It makes the young women uncomfortable and the old ladies cry! Yah bastard!

Today, I used it to go to Shibuya where we killed half an hour walking around and checking out the local sights –

Like this one. There was an even more outrageous outfit one girl was sporting but I didn't snap her at the risk of being deemed a pervert. I'll just stick with annoying for now.
Tokyo's famed kontiki spirit.

– and then finally arrived at our lunch destination: Chez Matsuo.

It’s a quaint, detached house-turned-restaurant that the Imperial family put on the map years ago and it boasts a Michelin star for its French fare, old school charm, and impeccable service.

There's a house under there somewhere.

The interior is certainly cozy, adorned with antiques, turn-of-the-century furniture, and artwork by Matsuo himself.  Taking care of us on this day was our man Takashi, the Assistant Manager and Senior Sommelier.

We're in Takashi's infinitely capable hands.

Our lunch, a set menu, broke down as follows:

A melt-in-your-mouth smoked salmon accompanied by a whipped cream cheese peppered with roe, some tart ginger gelee cubes (left), and even tarter vingegared green beans (right).

More wonderful and weird - prawn with cepes flanking a (pasta) tourbillon of forest mushrooms. Totemo tasty!
Next on the menu: a super long spoon with which to eat...
A layered masterpiece comprised of foie gras flan and a chestnut mousse with an essence of porto. This dish was killer. It was like having dessert mid-meal.
Crispy dorade rouge (sea breem) served in broth with dill, tomato, and garlic. A pleasantly subtle dish.
Following a refreshing pear sorbert, we were on to the main course: A stunning supreme de canard Breton roti a l'huile de noix au just de cassis. The duck, served rare, was nevertheless incredibly tender, studded with delicious little pieces of crisp, candied duck skin. Don't recall what flanked the duck to either, but I do remember that it was topped with thinly sliced Iberico pork belly.

Oh, right. Cabbage and apple.

For dessert: A grappa-spiked warm chocolate cake, stewed grapes, pistachio ice cream, and a mango, mint, and raspberry coulis trifecta.
Chef Kazuhide Nose, Matsuo's right hand man and a twenty year vet of Chez Matsuo, runs the kitchen. He came out to say hello and we ended up conversing in French for a while, sparing me the opportunity to practice my horrid Japanese. BTW - I'm the guy not wearing the chef's hat.
We then retired to the garden for some tea and mignardises.
It's overcast today so there are plenty of seats to choose from.

After lunch, we went for another stroll, cutting through a sad little park –

"Keep Off the Mud!"

– on our way back to Shibuya where we hit Kiddyland.  There, I got myself an Evangelion t-shirt and bought my sister a present (which, upon further reflection, I may have also bought her the last time I was here).

Well, cutting through a park and toy-shopping can really work up an appetite, so we eventually ended up at one of my favorite places in Shibuya,  Pierre Herme, where I enjoyed a snack:

My vanilla platter.
And a cup of extra-rich hot chocolate to wash it down.
Happy Birthday, Yoshi! Who? Yoshi! The guy sitting beside us, celebrating his birthday with his girlfriend.

I was stuffed.  I couldn’t imagine eating another bite until tomorrow morning (which is why I bought some macarons to go – the seaonal assortment made up of foie gras, black truffle, and white truffle).  We did, however, have dinner reservations so, to work up an appetite, it was back to strolling –

No idea what it does, but it's clearly of Ancient design.
Don't know what they're selling, but they're pretty damn cute.
I want one!

A subway ride back to Ginza.  Another visit to the Pierre Marcolini Cafe where I said hi to Keiko (who I’ll be spending the day with on Friday) and meeting Akemi (who I’ll be going out with on Sunday), and then it was off to dinner.

And WHAT a dinner it was!  But the details are going to have to wait until morning because the rundown is going to require a lot more energy than I have right now.

Oyasumi nasai!

46 thoughts on “November 25, 2009: Tokyo Travel Day #1 – Fit Over Fat, Lunch at Chez Matsuo, Strolling up an Appetite!

  1. Interesting, and I’d love to taste most of it… but not the sea breem. I truly don’t like sea breem one bit, although it is better than natto. Anything is better than natto, even poi. Maybe.

    I love the swoopy swirly glass dish!

    I’m sitting around, waiting for the kitchen guys to show up and put in my new kitchen counters. A simple job, and I’m having Formica put in, nothing fancy. A vintage kitchen would look weird with granite counters. The backsplash will be a tile mosaic, yes, I will be tiling it myself. Tile isn’t cheap, and I have eclectic tastes. In the meantime, I’m cleaning all the places which never see the light of day. Ick, grody ala mody (You have to have been a teen in Utah in the 70s to use that phrase). I’m also planning a lot of repainting and touch-ups; whose idea was it to accent the kitchen in white? Pictures will follow.

  2. I have to make it to Tokyo one, Damn you Joe, lol At least I can live through you, now if we can work on the taste thing!

  3. Chez Matsuo looks to be contender for most picturesque eatery. Absolutely lovely. And the food had my mouth watering. I could only imagine how a few of the dishes tasted, but every one piqued my interest. Glad to see you’re having fun, and exercise. Hope the subway system isn’t too confusing. I’ve some good, albiet distant, memories of riding them.
    While you continue to enjoy and share your culinary adventures, time for those of us south of the border to do our version of Thanksgiving. I’m letting the guys do most of the cooking this year, but am doing my signature ham. 17,5 pounds of highest quality Smithfield ham, which I expect will be completely gone by Saturday.
    Happy eating, sleeping, and exercising, and thanks for sharing with us.

  4. I can’t decide if reading your culinary adventures leaves me feeling hungry or full. Maybe I’m thirsty…?

  5. (The little elephant panders for Sato Pharmaceuticals, natch).

    Oh Joe, I am so afraid your 2 week holiday of grazing (and gorging) your way through Tokyo will be my 2 weeks of torture and frustration. I simply can’t afford to hit the spots you do when I’m there, so I have to live vicariously through you. And as you wander through the city, I can easily close my eyes and picture where you are (Kiddyland is a must stop for everyone, kids not withstanding). SO it’s almost like a pre trip to my trip next month.

    I’m just hoping that at least one stop on your tour will end up being in my palate and purse range. *crosses fingers*

  6. it’s a good thing art is subjective, otherwise alot of people would be out of jobs, for example, the guy who made that ferris wheel thing

  7. Oh my…yummmmm. And, the culinary adventure begins with our intrepid epicurean guide forging into the food universe!

  8. Everything looks fantastic, you lucky guy! The hot chocolate reminds me of the stuff in Spain (yum, with churros to dunk), and on a cold and rainy day like today, I’d kill for a cup/bowl of the stuff!

    Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!

  9. I’m living in Europe so I’m reading your daily post every morning. Now you went to the other side (but not the dark one) so I’m reading it in the evening. Interesting, isn’t it?

  10. How’s the weather? I was in Japan years ago at new years and it was bitterly cold. I was immensely grateful for the ubiqutious vending machines selling cans of hot tea.

    Do you stay in a westernized hotel? Have you ever stayed in a more traditional ryokan? We did. They were wonderful. Slept on tatami mats and dealt with japanese toilets which require some athleticism for the female of the species. Your pictures are brining back lots of memories.

  11. The Japanese park is beautiful. Even with the mud.

    Re: Sokendo, apparently you can HAVE one. They’re open 7 days a week, from 10am-7pm.

    Jealous,
    Jim

  12. Coucou Joseph!!

    Ahhh merci de nous faire partager toute ces photos!!! Et bien dit donc vous n’avez pas chaumé, vous avez déja fait pas mal de choses^^!

    …..Joseph? …..vous avez Skype…? …..vous savez moi aussi …..*smile* ….va falloir qu”ont parlent lol!

    Bonne journée! Profité bien 🙂
    Bisou Bisou!

  13. That was one of the coolest blog posts of yours I’ve read in a while, Joe. And no, that isn’t an insult to the other blog posts.

    Who knew the Ancients had a hand in Japan? Sure explains a lot, actually. Also, are you an Evangelion fan? I never would have pegged you as such. I’m not much for anime, but there are a few shows that have intrigued me. That one, Cowboy Bebop and a few other 90’s pieces have a special place in my heart.

    That lunch looked incredible. I always have a good time reading the French you’ve typed down for so much of what you consume, and the duck dish is certainly no exception. I spent a staunch, steadfast thirty seconds or so meticulously reading its name out loud in the best faux-French accent I could possibly muster, much to the chagrin of my increasingly-confused girlfriend. I must thank you for this experience, Mallozzi-san.

    Happy birthday, Yoshi. 😛

  14. Oh, and don’t kill yourself with that exercise routine. I’ve learned the harsh way, it’s completely counterproductive.

    Of course, I was revived. But still.

  15. Wow! Chez Matsuo looks great, inside and out. I’m glad you are having a good time, despite the sleep disruption. Ain’t jet lag fun?

    If you break down and get one of the samurai suits of armor, get me one also, ‘kay? 😉

    Time to go make the pie for Thanksgiving tomorrow – hope all of your other American readers have a safe & happy holiday. Will try to survive a week without a new SGU episode (sob).

    Lisa

  16. Joe wrote:

    No idea what it does, but it’s clearly of Ancient design.

    I’m going with a wind-powered egg slicer.

    Lordshake – I made no reference to whether what you said was right or wrong, just directing you to where you could find your answer.

    just one question, are you going to, or are you going not, fix sgu to the old school stargate style? or maybe bring atlantis back? please just answer it once for all…

    You’re assuming that I was making my comment for an argument, in which I was not.

    Thanks Thornyrose for confirming the book size.

    pg15 – I’m awash with all things Japanese after reading Joe’s blog, so maybe I’ll give that Japanese Interpreter anecdote a go I mentioned the other day. 🙂

  17. Great pics. It seems a shame to actually consume those delicate works of art, shouldn’t you frame them instead?
    Have a fantastic trip:)

  18. Like this one. There was an even more outrageous outfit one girl was sporting but I didn’t snap her at the risk of being deemed a pervert. I’ll just stick with annoying for now.

    Given Japan’s famed androgynous subculture, are you sure that was a girl?

    Also, why are Yoshi’s birthday wishes printed in Roman letters? Is Japan at last falling to our nefarious western spelling conspiracy?

  19. *looks at clock…throws open curtains, pulls back the covers, and kicks bed*

    Come on, Joe! Rise and shine! It’s almost 7:30!! You have a big day ahead! Hop to it!! 😀

    Good mornin’, good mornin’!
    It’s great to stay up late.
    Good mornin’, good mornin’, to you!

    Good mornin’, good mornin’!
    Sunbeams will soon smile through.
    Good mornin’, good mornin’, to you!

    Good mornin’, good mornin’!
    We’ve gabbed the whole night through.
    Good mornin’, good mornin’, to you!

    🙂

    (Yeah…I’m this annoying in real life, too.)

    das

  20. Fabulous pictures. All that food looks great. Yum – extra rich hot chocolate! And oh, Happy Birthday Yoshi!

  21. I find it absolutely hilarious it’s the young woman who is worried about her peacemaker in that sign.

  22. Exotic looking food is exotic wow.. lol, speaking of which, the bottom picture, that’s Samurai armor right?

    I heard Japan has italian places to eat too, Japanese culture can be pretty adaptive at times.

  23. Thanks much for all the fun photos of fine food, fantastic frippery, and everything else. Chez Matsuo is lovely, and the menu clearly takes up where the setting leaves off. I know that presentation is half the meal (or something like that) — and the food looks absolutely wonderful.

    It’s a good thing you listened to Ivon. You know what your body can handle, and your muscles will thank you profusely. And then after this period of self-indulgence, there’s so much less to daunt you about getting back into shape — especially with Christmas to add a bit more onto that. (Well, maybe such things don’t daunt you, but they have that effect on me.)

    Really, really appreciate the nearly tasteable descriptions. . . .

  24. What did your article say about those of us who stay up until 3am or so? I *am* in grad school, so the article is obviously correct.

    Wow, that’s a lotta food! The Pierre Herme food looks amazing, though. Especially the cake. Love the pictures with the chef and waiter! You all look adorably awkward.

    So I finally caught up on Time and Life and…wow. They blew me away. The season gets better every episode. I thought you made some daring plot choices and executed them every well. Of course sci-fi has the nice outs of things like time travel, but it was suitably horrible watching it happen. Eli’s speech over Chloe, my heart definitely broke a bit. An amazing job from everyone, the actors, the directors, the set crew. Stunning, really.

  25. Goodness Joe, I forget you’re a producer and you have the budget for this kind of thing. It looks so wonderful, see if you can get the whole maid cafe to line up for a photograph when you can if you go back to a maid cafe. 🙂

    On another note, the ancient device you’ve depicted is obviously an abandoned water powered weapon. I looks like it utilizes the hydrogen in the water to isolate heavy hydrogen and start a reaction which is then used to fire from one of the three conduits you’ve managed to capture.

    On a side note, I just heard what sounded like a gunshot in my neighborhood, this happens often and makes me feel unsteady. Good day!

  26. All that food… wow! Love the description of the outdoor art piece: “No idea what it does, but it’s clearly of Ancient design.” 😀

  27. Oh yeah!! vanilla platter and yummo hot chocolate, wonderful, thanks.
    I am not even going to try and keep your hours and the difference there straight in my mind, I need more chocolate for that.
    The pies are baked for Thanksgiving (tomorrow here) and I can’t wait to dig in. More pictures please, and when you get rested, more stories. Have fun!!

  28. That food presentation! It looked too good to eat. Just kidding. I’m sure it was yummy. Looking forward to more pics. I love how quickly you make friends in other countries.

  29. The link below can help keep track of the “Mallozzi Feeding and Blog Time Zone.”

    http://www.timezoneconverter.com/cgi-bin/world.time.tzc

    Links to a table of CURRENT times in the listed citys/countries. Meaning if you click on it now, your puter clock determines what time it is for you – check a nearby city to be sure – then look for Tokyo to see what time it is right now.

    Hope this helps – it was easier than doing the 15 hours ahead/tomorrow in my head for Central US Timezone.

  30. Joe,
    Your trip looks to be a very enjoyable one and its only the first day! I believe that piece of ancient technology was one of the first ZPMs…well power generator anyways. Oh! Stargate Atlantis was the answer to one of the clues on jeopardy tonight but no one got it 🙁 Those people should be ashamed of themselves for not knowing something as important as that.

    Where is the weird food purchase of the day? You need to make them super weird this year 🙂

    Have a great day, or is it night there, it could be morning, oh who knows. Have a good whatever it is over there.

  31. I’m with you.. this morning half an hour of abs thighs buttocks, one hour of combat (martial arts & boxing to dance music) and one hour of pump (lifting weights to dance music). I’m pooped!

    Yum at all that food. At least you can eat it with a clear conscience!!!

  32. Great photos, the food looks amazing. I was wondering about the veiw from your room? picture worthy or not, Thanks for sharing
    Tori

  33. Finally had a moment to really look at the pictures. Love the samurai armor…such detail. Thanks for sharing!

    das

  34. Hey Joe,

    I could not even survive one day eating the way you do, and the exercise schedule – are you sure that’s not torture?

    I soooo would have wanted to play noughts & crosses with the dessert. I guess that would be frowned upon.

    Wonder what you’re up to tomorrow. Have you planned every day or have you got some days where you get up & see where the day takes you?

    Did you hear that SGA (Season 4) was 39 overall in the Aussie tv ratings last week? Way cool.

    Cheers, Chev

  35. Jeff O’Connor said:

    That was one of the coolest blog posts of yours I’ve read in a while, Joe. And no, that isn’t an insult to the other blog posts.

    Be honest….it really was, wasn’t it….hahaha

    This blog post is shiny, new & edgy….what with Joe stalking young ladies and all.

    Cheers, Chev

  36. I enjoyed your day. I can see Rush and Dr. Park trying to figure out what the Ancient device does…LOL!

    🙂

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